Know how to Speak Up in Meetings

Have there been times when you should have spoken up in a meeting, but you did not, only to regret it later?

Speaking in a meeting puts you in a ‘spotlight’. This can get stressful at times as you need to present your ideas and add value to the on-going discussions. It is important that you articulate your thoughts well, especially when you have something important to say or clarify. On the other hand, knowing when to pause and listen to the conversation does also create an impact.

I came across an engrossing read on ‘How to speak up in a meeting, and when to hold back’. The article discusses practical techniques that certainly help you speak with confidence and I’m glad to share them with you.

Challenge yourself and prepare in advance

  • A room full of eager onlookers in an impromptu meeting may get you struggling to pitch with your points. In such a scenario, you need to challenge yourself and take the courage to speak up.
  • For any planned meetings, a good amount of preparation in advance would help you articulate your thoughts well. After you’ve finished speaking, no matter how you did, don’t forget to congratulate yourself for the efforts made.

Remember your purpose

  • Before speaking up you need to understand how well your points relate to the discussion and do they contribute towards organizational betterment.
  • Always ask ‘Why should you be saying this?’. It will help you to understand the relevance of your statement and how well it connects with your sense of purpose. Remember, you speak not to boast but because you must improve upon or resolve a problem.

Pause to speak with confidence

  • The presence of upper management in meetings may send shivers down your spine. It does take courage to deliver your speech in front of highly experienced individuals. In case you get anxious, take deep breaths to regain your composure.
  • These intermittent pauses will help you align your thoughts, strengthen your tone and deliver your words with conviction.

The techniques I personally follow in meetings

  • I focus on the relevance or weight of a question asked and make it a point to respond irrespective of the tone-language-rank of the person raising the question.
  • Alternatively, when petty matters deviating from the subject are being discussed, I hold my patience by writing down ‘patience and listen’ in my diary to remain a passive listener and avoid abrupt conversation cuts. Rather I astutely turn the direction of the discussion by asking pertinent questions.

Now that you know these clever techniques to speak thoughtfully, I wish you the very best the next time you attend a meeting. Do let me know which of these tips you’re likely to put into action?

In my upcoming article, I discuss the techniques ‘When not to speak in a meeting’.